April 13, 2004

Bizarro Holohan v. Lucky Stores

So, I'm taking (another) day off school to generally catch up on reading and stuff, and I was being a good girl by reading Employment Discrimination Law when I came across this great hypo(thetical):

    Holihan had been employed by Lucky Stores as a store manager for sixteen years when Lucky Stores first received complaints from customers and employers [sic] that Holihan was "manhandling, berating, and threatening" employees and customers. During the next twelve months, Holihan threw food off the shelves and ordered employees to clean it up, repeatedly threatened to fire the entire staff for no apparent reason, and violated money handling and other office procedures. Under these facts, would Holihan have a claim against Lucky Stores under the [Americans with Disabilities Act] if one of his supervisors had asked him whether he had "any problems that Lucky could help him with?" See Holihan v. Lucky Stores, Inc., 87 F.3d 362 (9th Cir.1996)
    Employment Discrimination Law: Cases and Materials on Equality in the WorkPlace: 6th Edition, Robert Belton, Dianne Avery, West Group Publishing

I'm a big nerd, so I went online to check out the outcome of this case, and it turns out that such a comment by a supervisor can be an indication that the company regarded him as being disabled. So, even if Holihan was not actually disabled by depression and stress - as he claimed to be, but the court refused to find him disabled as a matter of law - Lucky Stores might still be liable under the ADA if Holihan can prove that they fired him because they regarded him as disabled, which is prohibited by the ADA. I take this to mean that if one of your employees is going bat-shit crazy or you think that they are, you can't fire them without exposing yourself to ADA liability eventhough they're doing crazy, dangerous, unprofessional things on the job.

This result seems wrong since an employer is allowed to ask an existing employee whether they are disabled or about the nature or severity of their disability if it is job-related and consistent with business necessity. ADA 102(d)(4)(A). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has interpreted this to mean that if an employee arguably has a serious health condition that appears to affect the employee's ability to perform the essential functions of the job, a medical examination is deemed job related and consistent with business necessity. Belton &Avery. I'd say the Holihan guy fit that description very well, so his employer should have been able to at least ASK what was going on with him.

This reminds of me of Billy's last days on Ally McBeal, when he went all loopy because (unknown to all) he had a brain tumor. I guess it wasn't hurting his performance on the job, but he did dye his hair and keep 7 girls around him at all times that looked like they were from the "Addicted to Love" video. Maybe if John and Richard has asked him what was up, he wouldn't have just dropped dead like that in the middle of his closing arguments - really a thinly veiled confession that he still loved Ally - potentially causing the firm to lose their case and be liable to their client for that loss. Ah, I miss Ally...

luckyneedles.jpg

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Comments

this blog is just more evidence that I might be more successful in life by pretending to be retarded

Posted by: dr v at April 14, 2004 06:49 AM

what! non-disclosure agreement my ass!

for the record, yes, i threw stuff off the shelves, but those cup-o-soups were asking for it. and nobody ever found out about the time i took a dump in the coffee beans.

Posted by: holohan at April 14, 2004 08:41 AM

I love that someone can go totally apeshit and throw merchandise and scream at customers and coworkers, crap in the coffee beans, be fired for such activities, and then by way of some legal loophole, find a way to sue the company that fired them! It's great! Ahh... the law.

You law-knowing lawyer people are a barrel of laughs. You must have such a chuckle about this kind of shit, dancing with imaginary babies in your unisex bathrooms as you wear your tight skirts and shag all your attractive, loophole-loving coworkers.

It must be fun. Fun all day. Lawyering.

Posted by: kati at April 14, 2004 09:16 AM

I love that someone can go totally apeshit and throw merchandise and scream at customers and coworkers, crap in the coffee beans, be fired for such activities, and then by way of some legal loophole, find a way to sue the company that fired them! It's great! Ahh... the law.

You law-knowing lawyer people are a barrel of laughs. You must have such a chuckle about this kind of shit, dancing with imaginary babies in your unisex bathrooms as you wear your tight skirts and shag all your attractive, loophole-loving coworkers.

It must be fun. Fun all day. Lawyering.

Posted by: kati at April 14, 2004 09:16 AM

crap. crappity crap. Can you delete that second one so I feel like less of an idiot? This one, too, I suggest.

Posted by: kati at April 14, 2004 09:18 AM

Aaron: You'd make a bad retard; you couldn't help but make smart-ass comments to your boss/co-workers.

Matt: Sorry to blow the whistle on you there... and I do think cups-o-soup were asking for it; the bastards.

Kati: Nah, I think I'll keep them... makes it look like people actually read my blog and comment ;)

Posted by: kristina at April 14, 2004 09:22 AM

Nurse V, any posting problems we could help you with?

Posted by: sean at April 14, 2004 11:07 AM

Are you calling me retarded, Keane?!
I'll sue you ass! I can, you know.

And you can sue me back. We'll put those loophole-lovin' lawyer friends of ours to work. Frivolous lawsuits for all!

Posted by: kati at April 14, 2004 12:31 PM
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